A ray of hope has emerged for those whose plans for birthdays, anniversaries, weddings and anything that resembles so much as a whisper of a party have been on hold since the UK entered lockdown.
Restaurants and pubs have been allowed to open again since July 4. The Prime Minister said, as he announced the end of lockdown on Tuesday 23 June, “A new but cautious optimism is palpable,” and explained how and when measures will be relaxed.
Places of worship have reopened, with weddings permitted with up to 30 guests, so long as they follow social distancing guidelines.
The two-metre rule has now become ‘one-metre plus’, bringing us one step closer to our loved ones. While meetings of multiple households indoors are still not recommended, as many as six people from different households are still allowed to meet outdoors. Two households of any size are able to meet indoors as well as outdoors.
As restaurants and pubs reopen, private dining rooms are also able to resume. Interaction between staff and guests will be limited to table service, and government guidance will be provided to reduce contact.
While close-proximity venues such as nightclubs will remain closed for now, the possibility of a small party in a private dining room, at a restaurant, indoors or outside, is now realistic.
Party venues in England (and perhaps Scotland and Wales too, in due course) could see a boost in popularity now that travelling abroad appears riskier and more difficult to negotiate.
In the interests of finding out exactly when, and how, we’ll be celebrating again, Luxury spoke to Jens Nisson, Executive Chef Director of caterer Bubble Food (which is led by a Michelin-star-trained kitchen team and works with venues such as Cliveden House) and Johnny Roxburgh, party architect to the rich and famous, including the Queen, Prince William and Sting.
When can we party all together again?
Jens Nisson: Timings will obviously be dictated by the government, but we are anticipating a gradual return from July onwards. Starting small with family gatherings and parties with close friends and building up to small weddings and celebrations.
The rule book will be rewritten, at least to start with. It’s going to take hard work and plenty of cooperation between party planners, operators and chefs to come up with ways of getting together and having fun within the rules. Technology will definitely play a part.